Monday, November 20, 2017

The Unannounced 797 Announces Its Program Engineer?

Boeing who has fooled no one at this time has moved chief 777X project engineer, Terry Beezhold, over to a new privately run sweat shop with no apparent project on its drawing board. No one saw this coming, least of all Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS) who commented...

"Yes, we definitely want to be first in line," said Bjørn Kjos, Norwegian Air Shuttle CEO in Seattle.

The 797 doesn't exist and Boeing isn't going to tell even if does exist. It only moves chess pieces around its massive manufacturing chess board without further adieu. The only mystery remaining is 797 launch customer's and where it will be assembled (built).

Bloomberg: "McAllister said Boeing is ready for the challenge:
“We spend an awful lot of time in our position looking at the chess board of moves in the market. I’m very comfortable with where we sit today,” he said. “There is no change in our strategy as a result of this. I say game on!”

It remains for Boeing to whittle down to a one, two, three program process.

  • Launch the 777X
  • Deliver the 737 Max -10
  • and sell about four hundred 797's before the next airshow.

There are many usual suspects vying for the coveted launch customer trophy. Usually this honor goes to a Boeing "favorite" or some customer's massive order announcement. 

The China market is ripe for a 797 and Norwegian Air Shuttle has stuck its foot in Boeing's big factory doors. Boeing analyzes everything, including who will be launch customer and when. Typically a launch announcement will contain a surprise or two. Speculation on who it might be becomes an insane adventure not for those with feint hearts.

"Winging It" is a candidate well suited for speculating because...

  • Insanity is its core value
  • Its heart has no temperature
  • and its pay grade is low enough for the risk.

Boeing would like placing an Airbus insult by having a European launch customer and NAS is ripe for its task of making Airbus stammer without a John Leahy in the room. However, a mega order coming from the far east could be in the works and a launch customer trophy is within China's grasp.

Boeing reports (CNBC): "Boeing has forecast that Chinese airlines will buy 7,240 commercial aircraft worth $1.1 trillion between now and 2036.

Being a 797 launch customer is in a prime position and within China's numerous airline customers.

A 797 launch will include an Asian, American, and European cadre of 797 launch customers. One will be out of a massive order, while another will come to a favorite customer, and finally the last launch customer will come from Europe such as NAS. 

The battle for each region is vicious and it would be difficult to hone in on three top candidates for 797 launch customer trophy. Any Asian favorites emerges from many options. An airline capable of a really big order becomes a complex process in citing a potential launch customer. One could lean towards China Southern or with Lion Air being a possible counter to anything China Southern does. The order number would be a minimum of 100 units.

Image result for china and europe wrestling

An American offer coming from North America or its neighbors to the southern continent are possibilities. A surprise and insane launch customer goes to Delta. United is too booked with single aisle and Delta has big plans for bigger aircraft than its single aisle fleet. The buy-in for any launch customer is 100 units or higher.

The European launch was mention at the top goes to NAS. It too could go all-in with a 100 or more with its European business model. 

The Boeing announcement threshold would be for 400 or more units from about a dozen customers in one show. The follow on orders from other customers could swell the ranks by another 400 during one year's time after announcing the 797 launch. It would take a 800 unit backlog to risk 10-15 billion development dollars.